Not in the WoT ? Shit or get off the pot.

The Web of Trust continues to be one of these useful security implementationsi that those on the outside just can’t seem to wrap their noodles around. If you think getting fiatards to grok Bitcoin is hard work, getting people interested in Bitcoinii to grok the WoT is every bit as challenging.iii

Like anything decent, the WoT not only provides genuine privilege, but the perspective that comes with it. From my unique vantage point within said WoT, I can see for miles and miles. For me, it’s clear to see what can and can’t, what will and won’t, and what should and shouldn’t work vis-a-vis Bitcoin.iv

This is particularly true with regards to fiat-btc exchanges, be these websites of dubious merit or one of those ATMs everyone was raving about a year ago. From way up here, it’s evident that the WoT not only protects one from that AML/KYC nonsense, but also from getting your ass ripped off in a dark alley.

From a conversation that started on qntra:

Another victim of a mugging is Dean Katz, who trades coins in person for cash around the streets of New York, similar to a drug dealer working a corner. He operates on call from his listings, and meets the individual on the street to make the exchange, an identical process to trapping.

Katz told The Observer about a particular one caller:

He called because he wanted to gamble during the Super Bowl, which is pretty common.

When the individual arrived at the trap spot, he threatened Mr. Katz at gunpoint, taking $3,500 in cash, and forcing Mr. Katz to transfer approximately 30 BTC ($8,500 USD) to the robber.

The overbearing regulatory climate in the US for exchanging fiat for Bitcoin seems to have similar consequences as its War on Drugs.

And continued on IRC:

pete_d: thestringpuller: “The overbearing regulatory climate in the US for exchanging fiat for Bitcoin seems to have similar consequences as its War on Drugs.” << Curious how you get here logically.
danielpbarron: b-a isn’t a cult.. it’s a cartel!
pete_d: These brokers could have a physical shop with sekoority cameras and door buzzers or whatever. Like a gun/pawn shop. There are (were?) in fact a few such operations in Canada. Meeting people on the street to sell things will always bear this risk, regs or no regs. You could be selling an iPad and have the same thing happen.

mircea_popescu: Solid point.
pete_d: danielpbarron: I like it!
pete_d: The cost of business is borne either way. Cost of overhead to insure against gunpoint robberies or cost of the odd gunpoint robbery. Cost of insurance depends on locale, type of people, cost of rent, cost of cams, etc.
mircea_popescu: I dunno man. That 11k the guy reported lost would have paid 1 year rent + hardening measures.
pete_d: Perhaps not in NYC, or at least not Manhattan.

thestringpuller: re: War on Drug << We can’t buy Bitcoin without the help of Coinbase, or submitting to enemy’s wishes, so alternative is to hit the streets. This is similar if not exact mentality of aspiring drug dealer wanting his own corner.
pete_d: You can’t use Bitstamp ? or bitcoin-otc ? or one of those schmancy ATMs ?
thestringpuller: I personally use bitcoin-otc but that’s only because I have trusted people to sell me coin. For someone on fringes of this footprint who needs local fulfillment this creates the risk of “trapping”.

danielpbarron: People who aren’t in the WoT should be concerned first with .. getting in the WoT.v
thestringpuller: I’m not saying people not in WoT. I’m talking of people on fringes who aren’t connected strong enough to make large trades at this point. Because the footprint is small.
danielpbarron: They can’t use escrow? IDK how large of a trade you’re talking about, but I did several deals worth several thousand dollars in otc through escrow agents.

mircea_popescu: It’s bs, all of it. People can trade ~infinity BTC/USD without any problems PROVIDED THEY’RE IN THE WOT. And the people who aren’t don’t exist anyway.
ascii_field: I can see reverse direction (BTC to USD) being problematic but USD to BTC ?
mircea_popescu: Neither’s problematic really. Just, you know, “consumers have come to expect“. and they will die with that “expectation”. And pretend all along that “no alternatives exist”. Because why bother, when you can just wail and wait for tit.

thestringpuller: Again I’m only talking about people on fringes of WoT.
pete_d: Seems like this fringes thing is a fence-sitting. Sort of shit or get off the pot.

You have the right to start with smaller trades and work your way up to larger ones. You have the right to get in the WoT or toil in obscurity and watch history from the sidelines. You have the right to shit or get off the pot. Right ladies ? I mean, amirite or amirite ?

Hey, where’d the ladies go ?

___ ___ ___

  1. The WoT is useful against social engineering attacks and for establishing online trust that can then serve as a platform for business. And so it goes in Bitcoin since 2012: no WoT, no business.
  2. Note that the only people “in Bitcoin” are those in the WoT. Everyone else is just interested in it, like they’d be interested in sports or cars.
  3. But hey, what’s a world without barriers to entry anyways? And yes, sometimes the moat is in your own head!
  4. And when it isn’t clear to me, it’s clear to Mircea Popescu, who’s always there to answer the WoT’s inquiries.
  5. Arguably, there are no “people who aren’t in the WoT.” There are the people in the WoT and there are the servile multitudes.

9 thoughts on “Not in the WoT ? Shit or get off the pot.

  1. So the WoT can protect you from getting jacked Scarface style, but it doesn’t prevent mofos runnin up on you in gasenwagens GTA style. Recently I did an exchange with someone in L2 WoT locally with cash. Kinda my ideal
    situation. However we were still cautious of mofos running up on us and taking our shit which is the primary danger of trapping in any context.

    • Pete D. says:

      The WoT can never replace caution, it’s quite the opposite in fact: it reminds us that caution must always be exercised.

    • The WoT can never replace caution

      Yes, but this is parallel to the point I was making.

      From Trilema regarding crime (“I like to do bad things with my hoodrat friends crime”):

      That’s how shit works : government breeds crime, and then under the guise of “being tough on crime” it breeds even more crime. There can not exist human happiness inside a place with a strong government.

      So when I wrote:

      The overbearing regulatory climate in the US for exchanging fiat for Bitcoin seems to have similar consequences as its War on Drugs.

      It’s like kid in class who ruins computer lab day for everyone. You know the kid who would somehow manage to break his computer to the point every computer on the network broke.

      Yes, be cautious when trapping, but point is we shouldn’t have to trap at all. There’s a reason behind the phrase “trap or die”…

      Can I get a witness @modsix?

    • Pete D. says:

      Heh, I don’t think our good Foundation co-chair can hear you from here ;)

      In any regard, I now see that you’re not talking about WoTs at all, it seems I misunderstood, so I’ll turn my attention to “trapping” more specifically.

      First, I’d like to recall the time and place that was the original Wild West. Let’s call it Arizona circa 1880. Sure, there were sheriffs but he was just one man among many and his weapons were no more powerful than the next guy’s. And yes, there were also laws, and they were hardly stifling by today’s standards, allowing for all sorts of conduct, behaviour, and freedom. Crazy shit too, like smoking in a restaurant.

      Yet this scenario hardly prevented dishonest people from playing the bandit, now did it ? While what falls under the category of “trapping” may always be a matter of definition dependent on circumstance, even if the law’s gaze is disinterested, this isn’t a guarantee of safety or success. You can always die. The question is whether you’ll end up in court first.

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